THE Electoral Commission of Zambia says those who will be undertaking Parallel Vote Tabulation in Thursday’s elections must not announce their results until final results have been announced by the Commission.
“You are only allowed to present your results after the announcement of the Commission’s final results. Anyone that does before that will be prosecuted,” Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chief electoral officer Kryticous Patrick Nshindano said today, at a media briefing on the preparedness for the 2021 general elections at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
“The law is very clear; there’s only one institution mandated to announce election results – and that is the Electoral Commission of Zambia.”
Nshindano was flanked by the Commission’s director of electoral operations Royd Katongo and Dylan Kasonde – the Commission’s director – ICT.
Nshindano assured that: “the poll will be free and fair.”
“We’ll guarantee that one’s vote is protected and what you are going to vote for, what the final result will be, is what will be announced, regardless of the winner. The Commission does not engage in manipulation of elections,” he said.
“I can affirm that we are ready to deliver a credible election, come Thursday, 12th August, 2021.”
He explained how the process of voting is going to be done, starting from the point one casts their vote: “and indeed the transmission of that vote.”
“One of the aspects that we’ve reiterated is that this time around, the vote starts and ends at the polling station. This is because of the conversion of streams into polling stations. This time around we do not have any streams as it were in 2016,” Nshindano explained.
“At the polling station, once one votes, the presiding officer will sign off the results announcement form – which is the GEN 20 form. Stakeholders – the political agents – will sign….”
For those who would be doing Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT), Nshindano reminded them that only the ECZ had the legal mandate to announce results.
“So, those that are doing Parallel Vote Tabulation, please go ahead; the Commission has allowed for you to do so. But inasmuch as you are doing that, do it responsibly. We do not want it to create conflict when you announce wrong things of perceived candidates that would have been perceived to have won, when in fact not,” Nshindano noted.
“That can bring a lot of instability in the country and we therefore urge you to cooperate with the Commission and ensure that you wait until the final results have been announced by the Commission, before you announce your PVT results.”
Asked about electoral violence during campaigns, Nshindano pointed out that the vice: “undermines electoral credibility and where possible, we have been able to sanction.”
“This we have done publicly and also discreetly – internally – where we have called political parties that are erring and cautioned them,” he said.
Asked about the Commission’s position, in an event of a re-run, Nshindano said the Commission is prepared to handle such, if at all it arose.
On the results management overview, ICT director Katongo said results would physically be counted at the polling station, then results pasted outside the polling station, and then physically taken to the totalling centre.
“Once all the results for the constituency are received, those are summed up and the result is announced. After that, the result is transmitted to the national result centre,” explained Kasonde.
“Once that is done, the results are verified. After verification, there is an approval process. After that, the results are announced [at the national result centre]. So, we should expect that the Commission should, this time, announce the result within 72 hours from the close of the last polling station.”
The ECZ’s certified register for 2021 shows that there is a total of 7, 023, 499 voters, of which 3. 751, 040 are female while 3, 272, 459 are male.